Three Poems by Dianna MacKinnon Henning

Read More: A brief interview with Dianna Henning

All Winter I Remained With the Dead,

a white haired old woman, knuckles
big as thickened dollops of honey. Asked

my name by a nurse’s aide, I couldn’t
remember, but instead recalled
a river my lover and I once swam.

The Winooski, I answered which
made the aide wrinkle his nose.
I fished for a daisy from my gown.

The dead are in rehearsal, I told
his half-shut eye. That’s when he said,
You’re crazy, ran to fetch a doctor.

Someone’s seasoned with a spritely nature,
I told myself. The floodgates opened.
The observation room swayed with seaweed. If

anyone asks, I’m crossing the ocean to Bethlehem.
I want to hear the sermon on the Mount,
or at least touch Mary Magdalene’s hem.

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How Many Times Mayakovsky

Did Lili come to you in dreams, or had you conjured her
from a tempestuous nature, the fires inside you restless as they
feasted on air? One thing is certain,

your love for her was fascination. Does every man
dream a new woman inside the one he has? Not that
you made new the Lili you had, but that out of […]


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Black-capped Chickadees

A few remember that I mist
them each morning,

as they alight on balconies
of mock orange branches,

eager for their bathing ritual,
my finger crimped
on the hose nozzle. Sometimes

I visit with ones proven
friendly, as though
we were all showering, our voices […]


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Dianna holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Published in, in part: Naugatuck River Review, Lullwater Review, The Red Rock Review, The Kentucky Review, The Main Street Rag, California Quarterly, and Poetry International. Henning taught poetry through California Poets in the Schools. She received several CAC grants and taught through the William James Association’s Prison Arts Program at Folsom Prison as well as at other CA prisons. She was nominated by Blue Fifth Review in Dec. 2015 for a Pushcart. Henning’s third poetry chapbook, Cathedral of the Hand, was published in 2016 by Finishing Line Press.